Culture

A Massive Museum Celebrating African History Has Just Opened In Senegal

Senegal boasts one of the richest histories in the world. And yet, thanks to foreign colonial powers, a lot of that history has been nabbed by European museums – it’s been shipped around the world, and packaged for overseas audiences.

Now, thankfully, that looks set to change, with the opening of a massive museum in Senegal that honours the culture and history of Africa and black civilisations.

According to its website, La Musée des Civilisations Noires, or The Museum of Black Civilisations, aims to “restore a historical continuum”, drawing together the disparate elements of the continent’s history into one cohesive story, designed for residents of Senegal as  well as visitors.

To that end, the museum boasts seven massive exhibits, or workshops.

The first is an introduction to the museum, and an overview of its goals. The second examines Africa’s role as the “cradle of humanity”, the place from where all civilisation first sprang. The third focuses on Africa’s contributions to the world’s technological history, putting African innovation under the lens.

The fourth exhibit looks at the darkest era in the continent’s history – the devastating effects of the slave trade – by examining African resistance and independence.

The fifth exhibit looks at African unity, while the sixth moves to the modern era, examining advents in African technology, such as the luxury train just opened on the continent. Finally, the last exhibit aims to collect together all of those threads through the filter of nostalgia in African art.

The Museum Of Black Civilisations in Senegal is a thrilling exploration of African history

It’s a massive museum, and a long overdue celebration of African history.

Better still, it’s set to get only bigger. Senegal is currently preparing to file reparation claims that would force France to return many of the historical relics that the country stole during the colonial era.

Until France does return those items, the halls that they will eventually fill will be decorated in contemporary African art and items on loan.

The museum is located in Senegal’s Dakar, and is open right now — head to the website for more information.

(All images: The Museum of Black Civilisations)